Balance. Rarely has Walker Fine Art come up with an exhibit as successful as Balance, which pairs recent abstract paintings by Denver artist Don Quade with abstract sculptures by Colorado Springs-based Bill Burgess. Quade was formerly at Fresh Art Gallery, but Walker picked him up when Fresh Art closed last year. His work in mixed media combines expressionism and geometric abstraction, contrasting approaches that make for pronounced juxtapositions of scribbles and hard-edged shapes. These recent paintings feature light-colored grounds with darker marks laid on top -- something of a change for Quade, who was previously known for his all-dark canvases. Burgess is among the deans of contemporary sculpture in the state, with more than forty years of making art under his belt. These most recent sculptures are based on simple, pre-historic shapes such as arcs, circles and spirals and are made of rusted or stainless steel, or both. A monumental version of one will be completed this spring in Confluence Park. Jointly designed by Burgess and architect David Barber, the sculpture will be a giant fifty-foot helix rising out of a pool. Through May 7 at Walker Fine Art, 300 West 11th Avenue, #A, 303-355-8955.
Chihuly. Michael De Marsche, president of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, has orchestrated the extravaganza Chihuly, a sprawling survey of the career of glass master Dale Chihuly. Working near Seattle, Chihuly is among the best-known glass artists of all time, right up there with Louis Comfort Tiffany and Paolo Venini. De Marsche, following the formula he's established in other exhibits over the past couple of years, set Chihuly within the context of the CSFAC's spectacular Southwestern and American Indian collections. And then there's the incomparable setting of the iconic John Gaw Meem-designed building itself. Chihuly's illustrious career is surveyed beginning with the oldest pieces, from his very first generation of vases done in the 1970s to some brand-new, hot-from-the-furnaces chandeliers and towers. During those thirty years, his work became increasingly expressionistic, a product of his awareness of the Venetian aesthetic. The show is installed throughout the center, and there are even examples displayed outdoors in the courtyard. An opening reception is planned for Thursday, April 21, from 6 to 9 p.m. Through August 14 at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 West Dale Street, Colorado Springs, 1-719-634-5581.
Contemporary Realism and Americana. It's amazing that in the current art world, where it seems like everyone is searching for the next outrageous irony, good old-fashioned representational painters are still going strong. Come to think of it, that's an irony in itself, though no surprise; this kind of thing is so very viewer-friendly. The exhibit, Contemporary Realism, installed on the William Havu Gallery's first floor, is a trio featuring new landscapes by Rick Dula, Aaron Brown and Jeff Aeling. Dula is interested in what he calls "de-industrialization," and he conjures up romantic views of closed and dilapidated factories. Brown creates enigmatic narrative paintings that may or may not be based on actual places. Aeling's paintings of clouds and fields, on the other hand, are clearly based on actual locales on the Great Plains. In addition to the main attraction, Havu is presenting a group show on the theme of the cultural landscape. The show on the mezzanine, aptly titled Americana, includes depictions of roadside attractions by artists from the gallery's stable. Through May 7 at the William Havu Gallery, 1040 Cherokee Street, 303-893-2360.
Leaving Aztln. The Center for Visual Art in LoDo is presenting a provocative show, Leaving Aztlán: Rethinking Contemporary Latino and Chicano Art. Kaytie Johnson from the Peeler Art Center at DePauw University put it together with input from, among others, CVA director Kathy Andrews. The show examines new trends being embraced by Latino and Chicano artists -- and by Latinas and Chicanas -- and in the process explores the convoluted relationships between art and ethnicity. Ten years ago this would have been an overtly political show, but now, though politics are still in the mix, there are also many pieces that express cutting-edge aesthetic theories. Artists from across the country were selected -- including Jesse Amado, Connie Arismendi, Javier Carmona, Alex Donis, Diana Guerrero-Mácia, John Hernandez, Benito Huerta, Chuck Ramirez, Juan Ramos and Rubén Ortiz Torres -- but Johnson also chose two local talents, Carlos Frésquez and Maria Michelle Gonzalez. Through April 23 at the Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207. Reviewed April 14.
Our Culture Is Our Resistance. The Colorado Photographic Arts Center only rarely presents single-artist exhibitions, as it's doing now with Our Culture Is Our Resistance: Repression, Refuge and Healing in Guatemala. The show focuses on the work of Denver photographer and CPAC member Jonathan Moller, who, between 1993 and 2003, took annual trips to Guatemala to capture village life in the war-torn country. The subjects of Moller's very ethnographic-style work are the indigenous Maya people who were terrorized and uprooted by the protracted civil war. At first glance, the photos seem to be slice-of-life shots, à la National Geographic, but it soon becomes apparent that they've been posed. The images are published in a book with the same epic title that includes poetry, essays and testimonials. It's available for purchase at CPAC, with sale proceeds going to the Association for Justice and Reconciliation in Guatemala. Note: This show will be the last CPAC offering until next fall, as the center's building will be extensively remodeled over the summer. Through April 23 at the Colorado Photographic Arts Center, 1513 Boulder Street, 303-455-8999.
Siqueiros. The exhibition Siqueiros: Spirit of a Revolutionary at the Museo de las Américas is evidence that the beleaguered institution -- which all but collapsed last year -- is still alive and kicking. The gorgeous exhibit, put together by Alfonso Miranda Marquez of the Museo Soumaya in Mexico City, includes more than a score of works by one of the greatest Mexican artists of all time: David Alfaro Siqueiros. Using paintings, drawings and watercolors, Marquez economically surveys the artist's career from the 1910s to the 1970s. Sigueiros was one of "Los Tres Grandes" of the Mexican mural movement, and like the other two -- Diego Rivera and Jose Clemente Orozco -- he created work with one eye on vanguard styles developing in Europe, and the other on left-wing political action at home in Mexico. An interesting aspect of Siqueiros's style is that it had an influence on artists in the United States, and not just the social realists, but the abstract expressionists, as well. Extended through May 28 at the Museo de las Américas, 861 Santa Fe Drive, 303-571-4401. Reviewed March 10.
Stefan Kleinschuster and Ann Hamilton. Surely Stefan Kleinschuster is one of the most gifted young representational painters active in Colorado. Kleinschuster's style is fairly unique, being related to both abstract expressionism and its polar opposite, contemporary realism. As unlikely as the combination is, it's thoroughly successful. The blending of the approaches means that from a distance, there's a sense of photographic accuracy in Kleinschuster's depictions of figures, while up close they're extremely abstract, a riot of marks, smears and slashes. Robischon Gallery has paired a Kleinschuster solo with photos from internationally famous conceptual artist Ann Hamilton's "Face" series of portraits. For these photos, Hamilton used her own open mouth as an aperture for pinhole exposures -- no, really. That's pretty zany, but the pieces are even stranger, because Hamilton believes that the act of confronting her subjects with her mouth open is a significant aspect of this work. The exhibits open on Friday, April 23, with a reception held on Thursday, April 28, from 6 to 8 p.m. Through June 4 at Robischon Gallery, 1740 Wazee Street, 303-298-7799.
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